Boats in the World ARC 2017-18 fleet set off on Saturday to start their final ocean sailing leg from Cape Town to Salvador da Bahia via the remote island on St. Helena. Marking a year to the day since many of them began their circumnavigation, 2018 will continue to be full of adventure; by April they will sail almost 6000 miles, across the southern Atlantic, up the Brazilian coast and back to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean to complete their round-the-world voyage.
Crew members currently involved in the rally have spent the last 2 months exploring South Africa since they arrived in Richards Bay in early November. “Arriving at the Zululand Yacht Club was our first taste of South African hospitality, and our reception from the club could not have been warmer - we have found this throughout the country.” Said Dan and Em Bower from Skyelark of London. “A gathering of yachts is the excuse for a party, the beer flows freely the Braais get fired up (big bbq) and the locals offer anything from advice to help - driving us around to pick up fuel or finding a stray part. It's a very friendly community.”
After a challenging crossing of the Indian Ocean and navigating the notorious Agulhas current, the time spent in South Africa has been an opportunity for the fleet to relax and to recuperate. Many spent the festive season on board with additional friends and family flying in to visit them to welcome the New Year, whilst others took the opportunity to fly home, or explore South Africa and beyond. “We did not have Cape Town on our travel destination horizon but it blew us away way by truly exceeding our expectations. It is one of those magic cities on earth… we will visit it again someday.” Said Eileen from Aurora.
After seeing in the New Year, the fleet have been eager to put to sea once again. They were reunited with Rally Control on 2nd January and in the lead up to departure Victor and Manuel have been assisting with the final formalities. The V&A Waterfront has been a convenient home for the fleet, with the boats berthed close to one another making for another social stopover. On start day, Table Mountain provided a spectacular backdrop with her cloth of cloud as crews waved goodbye to South Africa, bound for their next continent.
Conditions for the start provided an easy introduction to their final ocean crossing, and the forecast promises some favourable winds for the first few days to propel the fleet to the remote island of Saint Helena. From there, the yachts will continue across the South Atlantic to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil arriving in early February to experience the spectacular carnival season. Their progress can be followed online via the Fleet Tracker.